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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover: 552 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: November 7, 2017

Series:  Renegades, #1

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies―humans with extraordinary abilities―who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice―and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to the villains who have the power to end them both. 


I know there could come a day when I might not love what Marissa Meyer writes, but thank goodness I haven't reached it yet! Before I purchased this book, I did not know what to expect from the story except that it was about superheroes. This was different than any other superhero story I've read, and joins unique superhero YA tales such as Dangerous by Shannon Hale and The Young Elites by Marie Lu.

Here we have two opposing groups of superheroes trying to gain control of Gatlon City, the Renegades and the Anarchists. Nova, our heroine, is an Anarchist known as Nightmare, having been raised by the former Anarchist leader Ace Anarchy and his followers after her family was killed in gang warfare though the family was supposed to be under Renegade protection. Because she saw her family and especially her toddler sister murdered in front of her, she never sleeps and can put others to sleep at her touch. She's also very gifted with tech and weaponry, like an assassin. Adrian, our hero, is a Renegade known as Sketch who is the adopted son of Captain Chromium and the Dread Warden, the leaders of the Renegades. He can bring his drawings and artwork to life. Since Adrian is the leaders' son, he also is kept largely out of the field and has developed another secret identity, the Sentinel, to gain some independence. His real mother was the Renegade, Lady Indomitable, before she was murdered from a fall, ironic considering her power was flying. Adrian has long suspected the Anarchists of murdering his real mother, and when he encounters Nightmare attempting to assassinate his fathers, well, he takes it personally.

Adrian and his team are actually on the tail of Nightmare, and little does he know she's right under his nose. Nova has decided to attempt to infiltrate the Renegades to even out the balance of power, because many Renegades are abusing their own laws. Secretly, she also wants to know why the Renegades didn't protect her family, why they aren't protecting the people they should be. She joins Adrian's Renegade team as Insomnia.

It's a very intricate story where the heroes and villains are not black and white. They each have depths of good and bad and just happen to be on the perceived "hero" or "villain" side. They also discuss the normal people and the effect of all of these superpowers on them: does it help or is it ultimately hurting them? So while this book is super fast-paced and full of interesting details, it also is thought-provoking and asks new questions about the presence of superheroes and villains and their motives. Such as, what if superheroes were part of the government and part of the protection force, instead of regular people as policemen? Are the policemen going to think they can't work and aren't good enough?

Though we largely view the story from Nova and Adrian's points-of-view, the other characters are very well-drawn and lifelike, memorable. An example of a well-drawn character is this horrifying (especially as a mom!) description of the Puppeteer:

"Eight shimmering gold strings cascaded from his fingertips into the crowd, and though Nova couldn't see where they landed, she knew he would be seeking out children in the chaos below. Those who were touched by his strings would turn into puppets he could control. After all these years, she still wasn't sure if his power only worked on children, or if he just preferred them because a mindless, rabid four-year-old was so damned creepy. . . The street below was in chaos. The Puppeteer's gossamer strings littered the pavement, some still wrapped around children's throats and wrists, though many of his puppets had been discarded and crumpled against buildings or in the middle of the street. . . Winston had four children still enthralled, the strings like nooses around their necks as they threw marching band instruments through shop windows, ripped parade floats to pieces, and hurled street food at the Council members who were trying to stop them without actually hurting them. The Dread Warden, of course, had gone invisible, while Tsunami kept trying to trap the puppets in a frothy tidal wave -- except the spellbound children didn't seem to care that they might drown as the plunged into the wall of water."
One of the most intriguing characters is Max, Adrian's "half-brother" who is kept in a glass prison for everyone's safety. I expect he'll be more important in book two, but for now, there are still questions to be answered about Max, his abilities, and how he is connected with Ace Anarchy. I hope we'll get to see more from Adrian's Renegade teammates in the next, like more opportunities to get into their heads. This book has a lot of action and is actually great for middle grade and up. There's little romance and other situations though there is violence and some horror elements -- like the creepy amusement park? That reminded me of images I had seen. (For inspiration, here's some.)

Speaking of this, the world building is really good, though I am looking forward to what details are revealed in the next book. Seems like the next one will be more about Nova and Adrian standing in the gap between the war of Renegades vs. Anarchists, so we hope there will be maybe some more connection, even romance, there. I also took the time to pull out some fun quotes and things I enjoyed about the book below, including a heartbreaking shout out to libraries.

"Humanity loses faith in times like that. With no one to look up to, no one to believe in, we all became rats scrounging in the sewers. Maybe Ace really was a villain. Or maybe he was a visionary. Maybe there's not much of a difference."


"Heroism wasn't about what you could do, it was about what you did. It was about who you saved when they needed saving.


Introducing Gene Cronin, aka The Librarian: "It pains me to think that, even now, the Renegades refuse to trust me. I pay the Council's taxes. I follow the Council's rules. And on top of all that, I provide a great service to this community. . . Do you know there are only nine functioning public libraries currently open within Gatlon city limits? There used to be well over a hundred. And all nine of those are thanks to the selfless efforts of people like me, who have made it our lives' work to continue the free distribution and sharing of knowledge and wisdom. To make sure that the people have access to this... to books."
Ingrid, The Detonator, to The Librarian later after she blows the library up in an inferno: "You'll get over it. It's all those lost weapons that are the real tragedy."
Cronin: "The weapons might have supplied my livelihood, but those books...those were my life."

Fun aside: The lead singer of Imagine Dragons made a special appearance for Renegade tryouts -- "Dan Reynolds, aka...The Crane!" 

Look for book 2, Archenemies coming in November 2018.
Watch the book trailer!




Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.

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